I was a medium-level juvenile delinquent from Newark who always dreamed about doing a movie. Someone said, “Hey, here’s $7 million, come in and do this genie movie.” What am I going to say, no? So I did it.
“Big Hy” — his handle among many loyal customers — would almost certainly be cast as Hollywood Enemy No. 1 but for a few details. He is actually Hyman Strachman, a 92-year-old, 5-foot-5 World War II veteran trying to stay busy after the death of his wife. And he has sent every one of his copied DVDs, almost 4,000 boxes of them to date, free to American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Barry Michaels helps screenwriters get over writer’s block.
By far the most common problem afflicting the writers in Michelsâ€™s practice is procrastination, which he understands in terms of Jungâ€™s Father archetype. â€œThey procrastinate because they have no external authority figure demanding that they write,â€ he says. â€œOften I explain to the patient that there is an authority figure heâ€™s answerable to, but itâ€™s not human. Itâ€™s Time itself thatâ€™s passing inexorably. Thatâ€™s why they call it Father Time. Every time you procrastinate or waste time, youâ€™re defying this authority figure.â€ Procrastination, he says, is a â€œspurious form of immortality,â€ the egoâ€™s way of claiming that it has all the time in the world; writing, by extension, is a kind of death.
I recently saw a link to The Big Lebowski Kit somewhere, clicked through and was expecting something entirely different. I was thinking it would be The Dude’s kit; everything that one needed to get their dude on. Nope, it’s just a bunch of useless crap… “Ooooh, a mousepad, a fake toe and a coffee cup!” We can do a little better than that.
The Dude’s Survival Kit
Here’s what I think should be in The Dude’s survival kit.
- bottle of Smirnoff vodka
- bottle of Kahlua
- carton of cream
- Old Fashioned glass
- ice cubes
- roach clip
- rolling papers
We could probably include some sort of bowling paraphernalia: a ball, a shirt, something bowlingish. And we would need something to hold it all, possibly a battered suitcase or a bowling bag.
Philip K. Dick never got to see Blade Runner, but thought highly of the preview that he saw before his death. The film by Ridley Scott was an adaptation of his short story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
The absurdity in Alice in Wonderland is often attributed to drugs or a dark trip into the subconscious. For her PhD work, Melanie Bayley examined some of the most popular scenes from a mathematical perspective, which is summed up in Alice’s adventures in algebra. Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Caroll) was a rather conservative mathematician, who disagreed with many of the new mathematical theories emerging during the 19th century.
The madness of Wonderland, I believe, reflects Dodgson’s views on the dangers of this new symbolic algebra. Alice has moved from a rational world to a land where even numbers behave erratically.
I don’t imagine that Tim Burton’s new Alice in Wonderland will delve too deeply into mathematical theory.
I was watching My Man Godfrey and was struck by the title sequence and its use of typography. Older films generally have the credits first, this one is no different in that respect, but the integration into the film is quite phenomenal — the camera pans across a cityscape, with the cast, crew and title, displayed as blinking signage. The film is now in the public domain, and available for viewing on Google video or download from the Internet Archive.
Michael Heilemann dug up an interview with George Lucas from 1971, shortly after Warner Brothers had finished butchering THX 1138. At this point, you can see that he’s pretty disillusioned with Hollywood, and how that pushed him towards the creation of Lucasfilm.